Wednesday, October 27, 2021


I have always felt like an advance scout for my generation. I don't know if mental illness aged me horribly from the first moment I experienced it thirty years ago, but I always looked older, felt older, and apparently seemed older, and since nobody ever realized how tactless it was to remind me of it every single day, why the fuck should I have ever attempted tact towards them whose hypocrisy is as visible as all the things my various illnesses wrought upon me?

I went crazy from the earliest age, I had an endless litany of resentments from the earliest age, and I had every expectation upended of what my life was supposed to be while my years on earth were still in their single digits. My whole life has been what my generation has become as adults, and I'm beginning to expect I will be an advance scout for illness and the hereafter. There was no inherent blessing in anything I endured except to say that for all my mental obsessions and delusions, I do think it makes me see certain things more clearly, at least in some sense, and see where struggles lead from my vast personal reservoir of suffering decades which no upper-middle-class kid of my generation was ever supposed to experience.

I have spent three plus decades now dealing with a battery of mental illnesses that are frankly more agony than any white collar job could ever be. My capacity to be anything but a semi-invalid is next to none, and while I suppose I've maintained a figleaf over that reality to many people who knew me superficially and for all the obvious neuroses saw the hyper-eloquence and savant capacity for remembering facts, anyone who cared to look closely enough could figure out the truth, which is that life as most people experience it was over for me before it even began.

I won't speak the details of the physical health scare I had today, but it was terrifying. Even if it turns out to be nothing, it was still terrifying and makes me wonder if I won't be around much longer and that I have a limited amount of time to get all my ideas out on paper so that, some day at least, people might read it and think that my life had some meaning and value. The rest of my body is beginning to resemble my brain, and I must brace myself that whether the remaining days of my life are a short or long period, I was born with an inbuilt genius for suffering. Even if I manage somehow to cure my brain late in life, it seems stress's damage on my body is already done, and it will be a series of debilitating physical illnesses from here on out, any one of which could carry me off as easily as wind carries off the pedals of a dandelion. And, of course, even if that's not true, then that is yet another mental delusion coursing through my brain, and one day the delusions themselves could claim me forever, and this is yet another one among millions of ways the neurological labyrinth turns with ever more misdirections.

Life is obviously not supposed to be a place where everybody treats each other with dignity and respect. Life is obviously not supposed to be easy. The point of life is not harmony or even love, the point of life is life. Life is only lived through finding meaning in our experience, and only half of experience is objective. So therefore, meaning is only arrived at through struggle and stress, much of which is self-generated. Life is supposed to be a place where we never get what we wish for, and in those few moments when we get what we wish for, we realize almost immediately that we wished for the wrong thing. And yet if we don't pursue it, we'll go crazy - believe me, I know...

What makes us happy is something both deeper and shallower than any goal. All that makes us temporarily happy is lodged deep within the animal brain, the limbic system which responds instinctively to certain activities with endorphins and dopamine: music, sports, movies, books, food, outdoor activity, bedroom unmentionables, whatever it is to which your brain is oriented by physio-chemical wires, that is what gives you satisfaction.

But meaning is almost the opposite of happiness. Meaning is what we arrive at by putting ourselves through hell. Meaning is the struggle that we'll never know is worthwhile, but nevertheless is seared into our brains to pursue at every moment precisely because none of us are meant to be happy, we inevitably wonder why, and we inevitably pursue cures for it, only to find that the vast majority of the cures we pursue are no cures at all. And yet nothing at all makes us unhappier than not pursuing what may give us meaning.

I have always, somehow, had the thought in my head that I will die just in time to be spared the disaster I feel in my bones is coming for my generation. What we all are experiencing now may just be the tip of an iceberg within a world that every year departs further and further from solid ground. Will it be Global Warming? Will it be nuclear war with China or Russia? Will it be civil war? Will it be electronic attacks or biological weapons or authoritarian dictatorships? If any of that is coming, some of us are going to die. It's that simple, and people like me would be dead weight from the first minute.

The point of life is life, and what makes life meaningful is the idea that some of us, some group of us, some version of us, survives the great unmooring to the other side, and that there is some continuity. What may prevent misery for us all is the idea that some version of everything we are has a future and continues. Lots of people say that the past and the future is an illusion, and there is only a present. I have come to be a fervent believer in the opposite. The present is so fleeting and meaningless - all for me that prevents an eternal present of anxiety and depression is the thought that the past and future of everyone I know and love will still have meaning, and we have endured our struggles so that the life of the past can be remembered, so that one day the life of the future can contribute their chapter to our continued human stories. Whomever you are, whomever is reading this, what will fill us all with the most emptiness and anxiety is the idea that we've struggled for nothing, for no one, and we're just another meaningless life who endured the colossal things we endured to the benefit of no one at all.

Whatever will be in our best interests to get us there may be what gives our lives the most meaning and satisfaction. I so often wish I was anyone but who I am and could live a completely different kind of life from the one I live, but as I am, all I have is my pen, it's all I can do even remotely well. I wonder how well can a person beset by mental hardships really do it, but whatever time I have left, be it seven days or seventy years, that seems to be all I can do to give my own life meaning, and I have to get it all down on paper every day as though it's my last, because my body is beginning to tell me that my last day may be sooner than I think.

I obviously don't know what my future holds or anyone else's, and as always, it's extremely unwise to publish my thoughts on this, but such is the mental diarrhea that if I hold it in, the bad thoughts only scream louder. Such may be my life from near birth to death, and such it seems to be from year to year as decline, decrepitude, and decay declare their intent to run their course through me.

...Perhaps this is just the lack of sunlight talking....

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